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Last chance for say on future Otago public transport options


September 14, 2012

Last chance for say on future Otago public transport options

Time is running out for those who want to have their say on the future of Otago’s public transport system.

Submissions on the Otago Regional Council (ORC) draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) close next Saturday (22 September).

The draft plan sets out proposals for public transport throughout Otago, and specifically Dunedin and the Wakatipu Basin, over the next six years. The plan specifies the services provided in Otago by buses, taxis, shuttles, private hire vehicles, harbour and lake ferries, and trains.

ORC director policy and resource planning Fraser McRae said so far around a dozen submissions have been received on the draft RPTP, but more are expected before next week’s deadline.

The plan would guide the future development of Otago’s public transport network and builds on recent service improvements in both Dunedin and the Wakatipu.

Around 2.3 million trips are made annually on the Dunedin bus network. The Wakatipu Basin network is smaller, with people making around 630,000 trips annually. In both networks, patronage is increasing.

The plan is being prepared at a time when the Government was signalling changes to the legislation governing the funding and operation of public transport. However, ORC are required to proceed with the plan despite this uncertainty to ensure there was no delay in the re-tendering of bus contracts expiring in mid-2013 and beyond, he said.

Otago public transport services are funded in three ways:

• services that receive financial support from ORC and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) including the contracted bus services in Dunedin and Wakatipu, and Total Mobility services provided by taxi and, in future, also by shuttle;
• special purpose services that receive funding from education, health or community agencies, but not from ORC, including school bus services contracted by the Ministry of Education;
• commercially provided services that do not receive any public funding, including some of the services within the Dunedin network and most of those within the Wakatipu Basin network, as well as bus services and shuttles operating within Otago and beyond.

Mr McRae said both the Otago Regional Land Transport Strategy 2011 and the draft RPTP anticipate steady but gradual improvements to the two bus networks, as well as gradual increases in patronage.

The draft RPTP, as well as a summary, can be viewed on the ORC website (www.orc.govt.nz)

Submissions on the draft plan close on close at 5.30pm Saturday 22 September.

Hearings will be held on October 4 and 5, and the final RPTP will be available in January next year.

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